Sitting in the southwestern part of the state of Colorado, Durango is one of Colorado's most picturesque towns. Boasting beautiful views of the surrounding scenery in every direction, this town is the county seat and largest municipality in La Plata County. It houses Fort Lewis College, along with various other landmarks, and covers an area of 13.93 square miles. The total estimated population of Durango, CO is around 18,000 people, but many more are drawn to the town each year due to its prime location and various attractions.
The town of Durango, CO was founded back in 1880 as a base for miners operating in the area. The city was actually named after another town called Durango, located in Mexico, which is now a sister city to Durango, CO. The area grew over the years and became known as a great touristic spot due to its stunning scenery and proximity to various key natural and archeological sites.
The Mesa Verde National Park, for example, is just nearby, along with the beautiful San Juan National Forest. The famous Chimney Rock National Monument is another nearby attraction, and the popular Purgatory Ski Resort is just a short drive away. The town itself also offers plenty of additional reasons to visit, being well-known for its one-of-a-kind Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a heritage railway running between Durango and Silverton, CO, with the two towns sharing a special bond and a lot of history.
Elevation of Durango, CO
Whenever we talk about a town or city, or even mountains and other landmarks around the world, elevation is one of the most important geographical statistics to mention. Elevation tells us how high or low an area is in relation to the Earth's mean sea level. The town of Durango has an elevation of 6,512 feet (1,988 m), which is very high when compared to most other towns and cities around the United States, but quite average for the state of Colorado. The nearby town of Silverton has a much higher elevation of 9,318 feet (2,840 m), so any trips along the famous Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad involve a big rise in altitude.
Colorado residents are used to living at high altitudes, with the mean elevation of the state being 6,800 feet (2,070 m), so the town of Durango is actually lower than the average reading for the entire state. It’s also lower than many of the popular little resort towns dotted around Colorado like Aspen, which has an elevation of just under 8,000 feet (2,438 m) or Vail, which has an elevation of 8,022 feet (2,445 m), but still higher than the likes of Denver, which has an elevation of 5,280 feet (1,609.344 m).
The highest town of all in Colorado is Leadville, which is located in Lake County in the Rocky Mountains and has an elevation of 10,152 feet (3,094 m). The highest elevation point in the entire state is Mount Elbert, which has an extremely high elevation of 14,400 feet (4,401 m), while the lowest point in the state is a section of the Arikaree River which is situated at an elevation of 3,317 feet (1,011 m). The elevation of Durango is not particularly high for the state of Colorado, but is still much higher than most other locations all around the United States.
Climate and Things to Do in Durango, CO
Durango has a warm-summer, humid continental climate, resulting in quite high temperatures through the summer months, with average highs of 86°F (°30C) in July, which is the hottest month of the year. Those temperatures can start to drop quite severely during the colder months of the year, however, going as low as 15°F (-9°C) in December and January on average. Around 20 inches of rain are expected to fall per year in Durango, CO, but three times as much snowfall hits the area each year, especially in December, January, and February.
The town is a great base for a recreational holiday and a big hit with outdoor enthusiasts. Nearby locations like the various forests and mountains offer all sorts of hiking, cycling, and camping possibilities. The aforementioned Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is a very popular attraction as well and one of the biggest reasons people tend to visit Durango. The local Purgatory Resort also offers nearly 100 ski trails of all difficulties, and various annual events and festivities are also held in and around Durango like the Snowdown festival, which features an exciting parade, and the classic music celebration - Music in the Mountains.